Suppression of Communism Act, 1950

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Suppression of Communism Act, 1950
Houses of Parliament (Cape Town).jpg
Act to declare the Communist Party of South Africa to be an unlawful organization; to make provision for declaring other organizations promoting communistic activities to be unlawful and for prohibiting certain periodical or other publications; to prohibit certain communistic activities; and to make provision for other incidental matters.
Citation Act No. 44 of 1950
Enacted by Parliament of South Africa
Date of Royal Assent 26 June 1950
Date commenced 17 July 1950
Date repealed 2 July 1982
Administered by Minister of Justice
Repealing legislation
Internal Security Act, 1982
Status: Repealed

The Suppression of Communism Act 44 of 1950 (renamed in 1976 the Internal Security Act) was legislation of the national government in South Africa, passed on 26 June of that year (and coming into effect on 17 July),[1] which formally banned the Communist Party of South Africa and proscribed any party or group subscribing to the ideology of communism.

The Act defined communism as any scheme that aimed "at bringing about any political, industrial, social, or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or that encouraged "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races of the Union the consequences of which are calculated to further..." disorder. The government could deem any person to be a communist if it found that person's aims to be aligned with the presumed aims of communism. After a nominal two-week appeal period, the person's status as a communist became an unreviewable matter of fact, and subjected the person to being barred from public participation, restricted in movement, or imprisoned.[2] [3] The Act was frequently used to silence critics of racial segregation and apartheid. Justice Frans Rumpff, presiding in the 1952 trial of African National Congress leaders, observed that such "statutory communism" might have "nothing to do with communism as it is commonly known."[4]

Passage of the Act was facilitated by the involvement of communists in the anti-apartheid movement. The act facilitated the government take down of organizations such as the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania that advocated for black rights.[5] The Suppression of Communism Act forced these groups to go underground with their activism. Ironically, because of this act, groups such as Umkhonto we Sizwe, led by Nelson Mandela as a branch of the ANC, did seek support from the Communist Party for financial aid. Most of the Act was repealed in 1982 by the Internal Security Act No 74[6] and the remainder was repealed in 1991.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ General South African History Timelines South African History Online
  2. ^ Separate and Unequal South Africa: A Country Study, Library of Congress.
  3. ^ "Justice Takes Its Course". Time. 28 July 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Death the Leveler". Time. 15 December 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  5. ^ Byrnes, Rita M. (1996). "Legislative Implementation of Apartheid". South Africa: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. 
  6. ^ Riotous Assemblies and Suppression of Communism Amendment Act No 15 of 1954 About.Com: African History

Further reading[edit]

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